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FFs Work to Extinguish Boat's Blaze; One Injured

FFs Work to Extinguish Boat's Blaze; One Injured

Courtesy: West Palm Beach Fire Co.

Palm Beach Post via YellowBrix

June 27, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH – A 70-foot pleasure craft returning from the Bahamas caught fire early this morning and pulled into Rybovich Marina at 45th Street and Flagler Drive, where emergency crews responded. The fire was brought under control. Up to 35 firefighters were on the scene, according to authorities.

One West Palm Beach firefighter received slight injuries to his upper hand; he was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center. Another firefighter was also transported for observation. The craft’s seven crew members were uninjured.

The “La Diva” boat was heading toward the Palm Beach Inlet when there was an exhaust leak onboard. The captain pulled into the nearest dock that he could find, which was Rybovich, and the crew evacuated the ship. The boat contained 3,000 gallons of fuel.

Sean O’Brian said he was laying tile at a house just north of the marina at about 5:30 a.m. when he smelled smoke. He looked outside, saw the fire, and drove over to the marina.

“We got there and there were huge flames, at least 30 feet high,” said O’Brien. “They were blazing, it was like an inferno. There was thick, black smoke.”

The fiberglass boat was still burning and black smoke was billowing at 9:45 a.m. Firefighters were still on the scene.

“The craft is destroyed,” said West Palm Beach Commissioner Molly Douglas. “It’s burned right down to the waterline.”

According to Assistant West Palm Beach Fire Chief Carlos Cabrera, the owner of the boat is a customer of Rybovich. The boat now is listing to one side.

“When we got here, we cut a hole in the side of the hull and pumped in foam to smother the fire,” Cabrera said.

Once the fire is extinguished, the gasoline in the boat will be removed by a salvage ship. No gas has leaked from the ship. An absorbent material has been placed around the ship in case there is a gas leak, said Cabrera.

Marina workers moved nearby yachts away from the burning boat. There were no explosions.